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Farm Animal Practice
Sheep flock health security
  1. Brian Hosie

    Brian Hosie is veterinary manager at the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) Veterinary Services. He has maintained an interest in sheep and sheep diseases throughout his professional career, and was responsible for preparing health plans for the SAC's research sheep flocks in Scotland. He is a past-president of the Sheep Veterinary Society.

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  2. Sandy Clark

    Sandy Clark is veterinary centre manager at the SAC Veterinary Services’ Thurso Disease Surveillance Centre, providing veterinary investigation services for Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney and Shetland. He previously worked at the University of Glasgow and in general practice, where he developed animal health plans for sheep flocks and beef cattle herds.

Abstract

OUTBREAKS of infectious disease such as foot-and-mouth disease or bluetongue can be devastating for livestock production and animal health, and may severely impact on human health and wellbeing. The role of animal movement in spreading infection is well documented, yet most UK sheep farmers take no animal health precautions either when introducing purchased animals to their flocks or at farm boundaries. As a result, infectious diseases are very common and are estimated to cost the industry millions of pounds through less efficient production. Veterinary surgeons have a vital role to play in advising their sheep farmer clients on flock health security — that is, strategies to prevent spread of infection between farms. As described in this article, measures can be undertaken at farm level in an attempt to prevent a national tragedy; furthermore, by controlling more commonplace diseases, such efforts can do much to improve the health, productivity and welfare of sheep.

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